MAN — Now that the toughest part of the Man High School football team’s schedule is over, the Hillbillies are trying to regroup in the final five games of the season.
Man dropped to 1-4 on the season after falling 30-14 last week at Class AA No. 12 Mingo Central in the John Fry Bowl.
The Billies now play mostly fellow Single-A schools to close out the season.
It begins on Friday night as Man is set to host winless Fayetteville (0-5) in its annual homecoming game. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at Man’s George A. Queen Memorial Stadium.
“We’re 1-4 but now we begin playing on our own level with four Class A teams and one more Class AA team in Chapmanville Regional. It all starts Friday with Fayetteville. We have to finish strong,” Man coach Harvey Arms said. “We’re hoping to string some wins together and we’re working to that end.”
Fayetteville might just be what the Billies need to break through.
The Pirates stayed winless last week after a 38-14 loss at Class A No. 2 Valley Fayette.
The undefeated Greyhounds led 38-0 over Fayetteville before surrendering two touchdowns in a game played at WVU Tech’s Martin Field.
It was only the third win over the Pirates in the last 15 years for Valley Fayette.
One side of the Martin Field lights were not functioning but Valley’s offense was running on full power against the struggling Pirates.
Valley had a 215-43 advantage in total yards in the first half alone over Coach Frank Spangler’s FHS team.
Fayetteville, which had some players miss the first half reportedly due to school suspensions and had others out for other unspecified reasons, had only 18 players in uniform in the first half.
“Even though they haven’t won they are still a pretty decent football team,” Arms said. “They have a scheme that they use and run every year. They execute and play well. Their numbers are a little bit down this year and they are not as big as they have been in the past up front especially. We’ll just have to go out there on Friday night and see.”
The Pirates are led by Jake Alton, who finished last week with 130 yards on 16 carries, including a 51-yard TD run. Aaron Krise, who didn’t play in the first half, added a 24-yard touchdown run for Fayetteville’s other score.
“He (Alton) is a good running back and their quarterback is a pretty good runner, too,” Arms said. “They are not big but they are quick and they run hard.”
Spangler said his team is trying to make the best of a difficult situation.
“There were four starters we didn’t have,” Spangler told the Beckley Register-Herald. “We’re really trying to keep our heads above water, really. They’re trying hard. We were just a step behind all night. The suspensions and other problems we have — we just didn’t play with much energy. We have to regroup and get ready for next week.”
Man and Fayetteville have played a good series against each other. The Billies are 7-6 against the Pirates since 2000. Man beat Fayetteville twice during the Billies’ 2009 run to the Wheeling Super Six, including a state quarterfinal playoff win at home. The Pirates have won the last two meetings between the two schools.
Man was held to just 104 yards of total offense last week and played without injured top rusher Braden Griffin. Mingo Central had 272 total yards, including 242 on the ground.
Arms said Griffin should be back in the lineup against the Pirates.
“He has a little muscle problem in his leg,” Arms said of Griffin. “He practiced on Monday and we think that he’ll be back. He’s had a good season and he’s had a couple of 100-yard games. We need everybody we can get out there on the field.”
Fayetteville opened the season with a 35-7 home loss to Wahama. The Pirates then fell 32-26 at home to Midland Trail before losing 47-14 at Richwood on Sept. 7. FHS then lost an 8-6 heartbreaker at home to Meadow Bridge on Sept. 14.
2011: Fayetteville 21, Man 0
2010: Fayetteville 24, Man 14
2009: Man 23, Fayetteville 7
2009: Man 37, Fayetteville 26 (Class A playoff quarterfinals at Man)
2008: Man 20, Fayetteville 10
2007: Fayetteville 31, Man 14
2006: Man 40, Fayetteville 12
2005: Man 42, Fayetteville 13
2004: Man 32, Fayetteville 0
2003: Fayetteville 33, Man 12
2002: Fayetteville 34, Man 21
2001: Man 13, Fayetteville 10
2000: Fayetteville 49, Man 26